Metallica’s Drummer Illegally Downloads ‘Death Magnetic

“I figured if there is anybody that has a right to download ‘Death Magnetic’ for free, it’s me,” said Lars Ulrich on a recent episode of VH1’s “That Metal Show.”

Lars Ulrich and Metallica have long been the poster child of greedy music artists after having come out so vociferously against Napster and the file-sharing community back in 2000. It angered many because Metallica was already enjoying the fruits of their creative labor with multi-million dollar homes and lavish lifestyles while file-sharers were only looking to save a few dollars on albums they erstwhile couldn’t have afforded.

Illegal file-sharing never affects concert ticket sales or the number of t-shirts and other merchandising fans purchase, but Metallica didn’t seem to care. The millions it already made apparently weren’t enough.

Flash forward to last year and Metallica said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that “We’ve been observing Radiohead and Trent Reznor and in twenty-seven years or however long it takes for the next record, we’ll be looking forward to everything in terms of possibilities with the Internet.”

It seemed they had finally seen the light, or at least realized there’s not much they can do about it.

For six months later Lars gave an interview with San Francisco-based radio station Live 105 to promote Metallica’s then upcoming “Death Magnetic” album and responded to reports that it was already widely available on BitTorrent and other file-sharing networks.

“Listen, we’re ten days from release,” Ulrich said.

“I mean, from here, we’re golden,” he added. “If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days. Happy days. Trust me. Ten days out and it hasn’t quote-unquote fallen off the truck yet? Everybody’s happy. It’s 2008 and it’s part of how it is these days, so it’s fine. We’re happy.”

Pretty “zen-ish” from the group who seemingly invented what it means to be a greedy music artist.

Fast forward to last week and Lars now admits to even illegally downloading his own music.

“I sat there myself and [illegally] downloaded ‘Death Magnetic’ from the Internet just to try it,” he told Eddie Trunk of VH1 Classic’s series “That Metal Show.” “I was like, ‘Wow, this is how it works.’ I figured if there is anybody that has a right to download ‘Death Magnetic’ for free, it’s me. I sat there one night at my house with about six of my friends and a bottle of wine. And what was it called?! [Trying to think of the name of the program he used to download the album] We found it — this was like two or three days after [‘Death Magnetic’] leaked. I was like, ‘You know what? I’ve gotta try this.’ So we sat there, and thirty minutes later, I had ‘Death Magnetic’ in my computer. It was kind of bizarre.”

It sounds bizarre alright. Lars makes it sounds like he comes full circle and has embraced “how it is these days,” but something tells me he really wants to sue like it’s 1999.